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Rye – Old Course

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Founded: 1894
Designer: Harry Colt, Tom Simpson and Sir Guy Campbell
PAR: 68
Type: Links
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In the early 1890s golfers in the Rye and Hastings area discussed the possible creation of a golf course at Camber. A meeting held at the George Hotel in Rye on 28th November 1893 decided that ‘a Golf Club should be formed; links to be situated over the Camber sandhills’. Work started immediately, a course was laid out and the first competition took place in February 1894.

The Rev JL Bates, Rector of Iden, was an active Chairman of a committee coordinating the construction of the course and organising the newly formed club. HS Colt, a solicitor, was elected as the first Captain and he designed 18 holes in 1895 which became the permanent course. This set him on a new career as a golf course designer of national and international renown. By the end of the century there were over 250 members, many from London. Lady members were admitted from the start, 32 being enrolled in 1894. The Club prospered in the early years and became well known as one of the leading golf clubs in the south of England. It counted among its members a Prime Minister, a Cabinet Minister, eminent judges and leading advocates. The famous golf writer Bernard Darwin, who became Captain in 1906, sang the praises of Rye whenever possible.

In 1907 redesign of the course took advantage of the receding sea by using land to the south of the sandhills and lengthening Colt’s original layout. Two holes were still across the road and three holes remained on land beyond the coastguard cottages.

The Old course remains substantially the same as the 1907 shape except for further gravel working to the right of the 11th hole which created Squatters Pool and a better hole. Both the Old and Jubilee courses have been lengthened and improved and the Clubhouse has been enlarged again and given a new roof.

Overview courtesy of Rye Golf Club

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“We only had rain at Kingsbarn, but that was a minor inconvenience.  Most days were sunny and perfect for golf.  We loved that we played some courses that we hadn’t played before.  And, of course, we were thrilled to get in the lottery to play St. Andrews on a beautiful sunny day.”  

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